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Vietnamese property tycoon arrested for stock market manipulation

Vietnamese property tycoon arrested for stock market manipulation

Tuesday, March 29, 2022, 19:27 GMT+7
Vietnamese property tycoon arrested for stock market manipulation
FLC Group chairman Trinh Van Quyet. Photo: Tuoi Tre

Trinh Van Quyet, chairman of real estate developer FLC and one of the wealthiest people on Vietnam’s stock market, has been arrested pending the investigation into alleged stock market manipulation, the Ministry of Public Security said on Tuesday.

The Investigative Police Agency under the Ministry of Public Security on Tuesday filed legal proceedings against Trinh Van Quyet to investigate his acts of manipulating the stock market and illegally selling nearly 75 million shares on the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange over two months ago, Lt. Gen. To An Xo, chief of the Ministry of Public Security Office, told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper.

Quyet and related individuals under FLC Group, BOS Securities Company, and other companies are accused of manipulating the stock market and concealing information in securities transactions on January 10, causing serious damage to investors and affecting the operation of the local bourse.

Quyet's acts have constituted the crime of 'manipulating the stock market,' specified in Article 211 of the Penal Code, Lt. Gen. Xo said.

Police also searched his residence and workplace, along with the offices of related people and enterprises at 21 locations, to facilitate their probe.

The arrest order and other decisions had been approved by the Supreme People’s Procuracy of Vietnam.

On the southern bourse, FLC underwent a heavy sell-off for the second straight session on Tuesday, sending its price down 6.9 percent at VND12,650 (US$0.55), with only 3.2 million shares changing hands via order matching.

Other stocks in the FLC family, including ROS, AMD, KLF, ART, and HAI, also declined sharply due to huge selling pressure.

Investors started offloading FLC shares on Monday, when local police confirmed they had imposed an international travel ban on Quyet for one month and had invited him to their office to clarify some issues.

This image shows police officers at the headquarters of FLC Group on the evening of March 29, 2022. Photo: Chi Tue / Tuoi Tre

This image shows police officers at the headquarters of FLC Group on the evening of March 29, 2022. Photo: Chi Tue / Tuoi Tre

Earlier in January, the unauthorized sale of a large volume of FLC shares by the 47-year-old tycoon gave a shock to local investors.

After several consecutive rising sessions, Quyet sold 74.8 million FLC shares on January 10 without announcing his planned transactions in advance as promulgated by law.

On January 18, the State Securities Commission of Vietnam (SSC) announced it had fined Quyet VND1.5 billion ($50,000) and suspended him from securities trading for five months.

Prior to the unannounced sale, Quyet was the largest shareholder at FLC, owning 215.4 million shares, equivalent to a 30.34 percent stake in the group.

As Quyet’s transactions were terminated, his holding at FLC remained the same.

However, the incident undermined investors’ confidence in the real estate group, causing many to offload FLC shares and sending the stock price down from VND24,100 ($0.8) on the morning of January 10 to VND21,150 ($0.7) in afternoon trade and to VND19,100 ($0.63) on the following day.

In November 2017, Quyet committed the same act for selling 57 million shares of FLC without any prior announcement.

The SSC then fined him VND65 million ($2,850), which was much less than the at least VND400 billion ($17.54 million) he could have pocketed from the illicit sale.

Established in 2001 and headquartered in Hanoi, the FLC Group operates in such fields as finance, real estate, golf resorts, aviation, high-tech agriculture, financial investment, education, and healthcare, among others, the conglomerate said on its website.

It also established Bamboo Airways, which launched its maiden flight in 2019.

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Phuong Thao - Than Hoang - Hoang Diep / Tuoi Tre News


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